Lowlands Festival 2018: Preview

Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz and Dua Lipa head up the 2018 Lowlands Festival; we take a closer look at some of the acts playing further down the bill of this Dutch institution

Preview by Adam Turner-Heffer | 14 Aug 2018
  • Lowlands Festival

We've all been there, the final day of a UK camping festival and things are starting to get a little agitated. Brains are fried from the heat (or rain) and from having a few too many. Some wilder smells are emerging from certain dark corners of the campsite, while the crushing realisation that normality is once again around the corner.

However, it doesn't always have to be like this. Many continental European festivals offer an altogether much more pleasant experience and as The Skinny has found in the past, Lowlands Festival in The Netherlands is one of the best examples of this. Situated on an island that was previously underwater about an hour east of Amsterdam, Lowlands has proven to be the biggest summer party of the year for the Dutch and across Europe alike.

There are no day tickets just weekend passes, so once you're in, you're in at the three-day festival. A tradition in The Netherlands since 1993 as one of the biggest parties in the country, the festival offers high-quality glamping amenities and promises to have little to no queues and a far more chilled out atmosphere compared to the UK, plus much of it is covered so it's easy to stay dry should the unforeseeable happen!

The festival is relatively small at a 55,000 capacity considering the size of acts it attracts – meaning it consistently sells out each year – and this year is no different presenting Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, N.E.R.D, The War On Drugs, Dua Lipa and James Bay as headliners while legends such as De La Soul, Nile Rodgers, Patti Smith and Dropkick Murphys are also at the top end of the bill. The Skinny is always a fan of unearthing some other hidden treasures at festivals, however, so here are the six acts we are most excited for at the 2018 edition.

It's been well documented in the past, but we LOVE Protomartyr. The band's excellent fourth record Relatives in Descent featured in our top 10 albums of 2017, but our love for the Detroit post-punks goes much further back than that, meaning we feel we've watched and perhaps even nurtured their growth. Consistently one of the most impressive, abrasive and hellacious live acts out there, with their incredibly tight and knotty trio of musicians fronted by Joe Casey's deadpan lines and plenty of cans, this year's Consolation E.P. – featuring collaboration with The Breeders' Kelley Deal – is one of the year's stand-outs so far, proving the band are far from done wowing audiences across the world. 

Confidence Man
One of our favourite albums of the year so farConfident Music for Confident People comes from the Melbourne, Australia hyper-pop group Confidence Man, who are perhaps the closest musical equivalent to popular 2018 meme, "Big Dick Energy." Confidence Man have been one of the highlights of the festival season this year and it's not exactly hard to see why: big pop tunes, choreographed moves, monochrome outfits clashing against their rainbow-coated music, with healthy dollops of sex appeal and a genuinely funny sense of humour that strings the whole thing together. If you're yet to experience the Aussie glam-poppers live, do yourself a favour and come join the party!

Nils Frahm
Another of our album of the year contenders of 2018, though much different from the above, comes from German pianist and composer Nils Frahm, with his breathtaking record All Melody. Every now and then while at a summer festival it's a necessary palette-cleanser to take in something a little more relaxed and intricate before going back out at it again, and Frahm is perfect for this. However, don't be completely thrown by the relatively blissed-out piano playing at the core of Frahm's sound as he loves a heavy techno beat and other flourishes of instrumentation so be prepared to be caught off guard.

Glaswegian-born, Los Angeles-based SOPHIE has become some hot property over the last couple of years. Following on from production work with the likes of Madonna, Charli XCX, Vince Staples and most recently Let's Eat Grandma, after much anticipation, SOPHIE released her debut solo album Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides this summer to widespread critical acclaim. While she's been an active DJ and producer for years, this is the first time SOPHIE is touring as a solo performer and given her hyperactive electro-pop sound coupled with her coming out as a transgender woman promises this to be a special, emotional yet dance-fuelled experience.

The Texas-via-California rap group (or boy band as they prefer to be called) BROCKHAMPTON have become quite the indie darlings over the past three years, following the footsteps of previous multi-man game changers such as Odd Future or Wu-Tang Clan before them. Clearly, the majors agree, as the group recently signed to RCA Records ahead of this year's The Best Years of Our Lives album, following the completion of their Saturation trilogy last year. Part of the appeal of the group is that there's a visible amount of FUN on display in everything they do, something that easily translates to their live show, and if their recent performance on Jimmy Fallon is anything to go by, they should be a perfect summer festival experience.

Floating Points
After his stunning 2015 record Elaenia, Sam Shepherd, better known as Floating Points has kept us with bated breath on his follow-up, teasing a few single and EP releases here and there ever since. All the same, 2018 has seen him working in collaboration with the legendary Four Tet and his live show has grown to something of a legendary status itself, with a whimsical mix of electronic and jazz music. While it remains to be seen what exactly Shepherd has up his sleeve next, there's no doubt he'll be an excellent late-night accompaniment for those who wish to continue into the wee hours.

Lowlands Festival takes place at Evenemententerrein Walibi Holland, Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands, 17-19 Aug